Structural damage to buildings can be precipitated by a variety of factors, one of which being human intervention. Bombs are one such example that incurs injury to both material possessions and human lives as a result of the deleterious actions of assailants.
On April 24, 1975 in Stockholm, Sweden, six members of a militant group of West German terrorists dubbed the Red Army Faction (RAF) laid siege to the West German Embassy, detaining thirteen embassy officials as hostages. Such actions were executed for the purpose of freeing 26 RAF members currently in prison in West Germany so that they may flee to an undisclosed country. This far-left guerilla group, through violence, intended to topple the post-World War II democracy that West Germany had enjoyed. As a result, the government viewed them as terrorists of the utmost threat. Following the apprehension of the building and its inhabitants, the Red Army Faction issued a declaration:
“The Holger Meins Commando is holding members of the embassy staff in order to free prisoners in West in West Germany. If the Police move in, we shall blow the building up with 15 kilos of TNT.”
However, the Swedish police disregarded such threats as innocuous which directly led to the death of the military attache (i.e. expert) Baron von Murbach at the hands of the RAF. With negotiations remaining at a standstill, the RAF openly murdered yet another hostage Heinz Hallagaart, the economics attache. To combat the terrorists’ resistance, the Swedish police stormed the embassy building but were unfortunately met with devastation. The explosives rigged to the building by the RAF accidentally ignited when the police entered by force, injuring both the hostages and the RAF members. The building itself, which was engulfed in flames during the explosion, incurred a great deal of of structural damage.
Damage to the West German Embassy, Stockholm, by a terrorist bomb. The bomb was detonated in the room on the far right.
Damage to the interior of the West German Embassy. Location of explosion.
By Daniella Fodera